I think it should go without saying, but spoilers for all 8 eights seasons possible here and allowed in the comments.
Well, we’ve narrowed our cast to 32 remaining characters. Round 1 was admittedly a lot of blow outs, but with some intriguing results mixed. And I think we have at least some pretty compelling match ups today.
- We have a break down of 21 male characters to 11 female characters
- We’re looking at 5 remaining characters thought of as Lannisters, while the Starks has 4 fully fledged members, there’s 3 characters of Targaryen blood, 2 of the Tyrells, 2 legitimate Baratheons, and 2 from little House Mormont. The other Great Houses of Greyjoy, Martell, and Tully all technically have at least 1 contestant, with Arryn the only major house shut out (no characters in last round either).
- Biggest Round 1 Blow-Out was Brienne’s 83 upvotes to Bran’s 2. Brienne had the most upvotes of the first round, while Bran was tied with Euron for the least.
- The first round wasn’t chalk. The biggest upset (according to seeding from the nominations) was 40) Stannis over 25) Jon Snow. The other triumphant underdogs were Shireen (over Gendry) and Aemon (over Missendei)
- The closest calls were Littlefinger’s 5 votes short of Pod, Khal Drogo being 4 votes off catching Ghost, and Robert Baratheon a mere 2 votes shy away from beating his false son Joffrey. Jon Snow had the most votes of an eliminated character at 39. (Stannis beat him by 10 votes, a nail biter compared to other matchups but still a decisive win for him to tout).
Remember the Fallen
(This is a thing where I highlight some of the eliminated characters- not all of them, just ones I have things to say about here. It goes on too long, and you will probably skip straight to the tournament down below)
- Syrio losing out to Samwell Tarly makes sense in the scheme of things – a Season 1 scene stealer against one who was protagonist for all 8 seasons. That said, he was an incredibly charming presence in his short time, and it’s a testament to him that he could be quoted seven seasons later (What do we say to the God of death? Not Today) and have it still carry full emotional weight.
- Speaking of Arya’s mentors, people already noted their appreciation of Yoren – though he’s probably the most forgotten of the world weary men she hanged out with – I didn’t remember the detail that that he gave Arya the idea for her list. That scene is a prime example of “no, stop, characters who are going to live don’t monologue about their past like like this!” But it’s still the kind of lovely quiet moment the show never had as much time for in later seasons.
- A word on Jaqen H’ghar – they really mess this one of up in a way. He’s awesome in season 2 as this cunning figure who’s shrouded in mystery- so then it’s actually a let down in Season 5/6 when he comes back as just a boring dude walking around a temple in a robe.
- Speaking of small characters who left a big presence: I’m a little disappointed David Bradley / Walder Frey didn’t get more credit for in just a few episodes creating a real iconic villain. He’s a creep, but an entertaining, brutally honest creep who knows what he is. “I’ll find another.”
- As someone noted, if someone had to be sacrificed in the first round to the cult of Ser Pounce, Hot Pie was probably an ideal victim. But aside from his amusing thoughts about armor and gravy (and his really sweet first goodbye with Arya) I do appreciate Hot Pie for being one of our few looks into the real ground floor of the show. The normal smallfolk just caught in the middle of the Squabbles of these powerful houses. You could say the same of Ros, who did better than I would have expected against a real fan favorite, earning 13 upvotes to her cause. I always thought her death in Season 3 was a bit unnecessary, and it kind of would have been nice have let her stick around more.
- Yara Greyjoy was always a character I was surprised to not see more done with. Gemma Whelan clearly rocked the role of a harden warrior who still had fierce loyalty to her people and family. To me it’s a no brainer in my mind to have featured her more, so not sure why they just had her side lined for the eight season.
- Pycelle was never a major player, but still a nice piece in illustrating the corruption of the King’s Landing establishment. I was a bit disappointed that after being a part of 6 seasons of the show, they killed him without giving Julian Glover a proper send off scene he could really use his acting chops in. Even his best scene in the series was deleted from the actual show.
- Jon Snow was not the most complex character in the show, so it makes sense he wasn’t championed hard in the tournament- but I still appreciated the presence on the show of someone who truly believed in doing good. Same goes for Robb. I rewatch some of his scenes and realize that you could tell Richard Madden was going to be a great actor. His reaction to his father’s death is so heart breaking.
- I’ll segue by mentioning Jon has some great scenes playing off Mance Rayder. After all the build up the the “King Beyond the Wall” I was underwhelm by his understated role in Season 3. But then they really gave Ciaran Hinds some material to chew in seasons 4-5, beautiful pulling of a Kingly presence as a man unwilling to bend in his convictions. “The freedom to make my own mistakes was all I ever wanted.”
- I hated Melisandre in Season 2, since she and her smoke monsters seemed so out of place on what had been a fantasy-light show. But she grew on me – it’s odd to describe a woman who burned a little girl as “a grey character,” but I did feel like Carice Van Houten brought a lot of nuance to the part. There’s this moment in the season 5 finale where Davos asks her what happened to Stannis and Shireen, and she just responds with a solemn look of guilt that I fucking loved.
- The Bear was an unexpected competitor in this tournament before falling to his own species. But really, The Bear is every single character on this show exemplified. On the surface, he’s a monster, and perhaps that is his true nature. But it’s not his fault. He’s a monster because that’s what the cruel world has made him, imprisoned and forced to be a killer for the entertainment of the drunken masses. The audience who cheers him on as he chases the “Maiden Fair” is the real monster. Just as we, the audience cheering on the awful acts committed on this show, are the real monsters. And Now His Watch Has Ended
The spirit of a tournament like this is the criteria for how you judge these characters is whatever you want it to be as determine who the “best” characters according to the Avocado are. Though since this is a TV show tournament, I would suggest looking at characters more through the lense of their TV versions.
All 16 matches will be posted below, and all typical Avocado Tournament Rules apply. You will have at least 24 hours to vote before matchups are closed.